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Individual benefits and collective challenges: Experts’ views on data-driven approaches in medical research and healthcare in the German context

Big Data &Society, Volume 9, Issue 1, January-June 2022.
Healthcare provision, like many other sectors of society, is undergoing major changes due to the increased use of data-driven methods and technologies. This increased reliance on big data in medicine can lead to shifts in the norms that guide healthcare providers and patients. Continuous critical normative reflection is called for to track such potential changes. This article presents the results of an interview-based study with 20 German and Swiss experts from the fields of medicine, life science research, informatics and humanities of digitalisation. The aim of the study was to explore expert opinions regarding current challenges and opportunities related to data-driven medicine and medical research and to provide a methodological framework for empirically grounded, continuous normative reflection. To this end, we developed a heuristic tool to map and structure empirical findings for normative analysis. Using this tool, our interview material points to a polarisation between individualistic and collectivistic orientated argumentations among experts. The study shows that a multilevel analysis is required to deal with complex normative implications of data-driven approaches in medical research and healthcare.

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